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Residents, business owners review impact of Do it Best move to Electric Works

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Neighbors, landlords, and retail store owners are weighing in on the ambitious undertaking, after developers announced Do it Best Corporation will become the anchor tenant of the mixed-use project.

Do it Best Corp. has committed to moving hundreds of jobs from New Haven to Electric Works project.

Do it Best's move to Electric Works from neighboring New Haven is not the best of news for that city, but it appears to guarantee the project gets built, keeps Do it Best from moving completely outside the area, and situates somewhere around 500 jobs on the fringe of downtown Fort Wayne.

Mad Anthony Brewing Company expects new customers will come from Electric Works project opening a couple of blocks away.

A couple of blocks from the old GE campus that will host Electric Works you find the Mad Anthony Brewing Company that hopes the project will lift up nearby restaurants and the local economy in general.

"Coming into Electric Works can only bring some more people that may not have the confidence to move in, give them the final push to come into the area," said Josh Volz with Mad Anthony Brewing Co.

Rio Jennings, who lives close to Electric Works, hopes it won't just be big business that is showcased, but other forms of entertainment that get kickstarted by the project too.

"Different things the community can do, stay out of trouble, cause we got a lot of bars and stuff around here, so something else that we can actually go do," Jennings said.

Todd Sorg, a landlord in the West Central neighborhood, is gung-ho about what's happening.

"We've seen a revitalization here in West Central over the past five to ten years, and I think that's just going to make this neighborhood even better than it was before," Sorg said.

The developers original plans called for a number of apartments to be included.

I'm now told, because of the large space Do it Best will occupy, there's no longer room for apartments in phase one.

450 new apartments are slated to become available after completion of The Lofts of Headwaters Park and Riverfront at Promenade Park.

The Apartment Association of Fort Wayne says that investors will be watching those two developments to determine how many more apartment homes the downtown area can sustain.

Jeff Kingsbury with RTM Ventures anticipates about 250 apartments to be constructed in conjunction with phase two of Electric Works.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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